Employers will converge on a major public transport summit next week in Bristol to agree what needs to be prioritised to counter growing congestion across the region and support continued regional economic growth.
The West of England Public Transport Summit & Debate will hear from a range of speakers including Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol; James Freeman, Managing Director, First West of England; Simon Earles, Planning and Sustainability Director at Bristol Airport; David Carter, Director of Infrastructure at the West of England Combined Authority; and Matthew Golton, Commercial Development Director, GWR.
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce, will also speak on the role of the business community in making the case for investment in the public transport system drawing on the experience in the capital.
Chairing the event is Nigel Stevens, formerly CEO UK & Ireland of Transdev, one of the largest public transport operators in Europe.
James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West, will present the findings of a study amongst the organisation’s members as to what they would like to see happen with the region’s public transport system so that it delivers for the business community.
Said Durie: “Heightening congestion on our roads poses one of the biggest threats to the fortunes of the region’s businesses and economy. Future job creation and housebuilding to accommodate the growth needs of the regional economy, together with an increased number of commuters from Wales following the Severn Bridge toll charges coming to an end, will put greater strain on an already under pressure transport infrastructure in the West of England, with implications for employees and their employers.
“The West of England Public Transport Summit & Debate will help shape a public transport blueprint that can start delivering for employers in the next three years.”
Added James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England: “We have started to make real progress particularly with the arrival of the £230m rapid transit Metrobus service where there is already significant evidence of behavioural change with people leaving their cars behind and taking public transport into and around the city. However, we need to continue to invest and build on this platform, not just in Bristol but across the West of England.”
There will also be a panel debate involving public transport operators, the business community and developers. Panellists include Rob Pymm, Commercial Director, First West of England; Julie Snell, Managing Director, Bristol is Open; Ann O’Driscoll, Director, North Bristol SusCom; James Lancaster, Head of Policy at Enterprise Holdings; Jon Usher, Head of Partnerships, Sustrans; and Kevin Gibbs, Senior Counsel, Planning & Infrastructure, Womble Bond Dickinson.